• Kathy

Confessions of a Colorer

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

Last week I shared my color wheel experiences with you. This week I need to confess. After giving so much thought to these little gadgets, I discovered the need for another one. So I set out to create it myself. Oh dear, that led me to needing even another one. Days later (and I mean many), I believe I finally came up with the missing wheels that will help me with my coloring.

At this point, I know you are thinking one of two things; 1) Kathy has gone off the deep end--the wheel was created years ago, or 2) Kathy is about to tell me something amazing here that I've not thought about in this way before.

I hope it's #2. First, I will confess, I never studied art. I took one or two elective art classes in high school to fill my schedule and get the required credits for graduation. After that, nope, it was all business. That may have had to do with the fact that my personality type doesn't let me do unstructured things, and that is what my art class experiences felt like to me, unstructured. I also am not an avid reader unless you hand me a technical manual--can't put those down.

Did you get on adult coloring bandwagon when it hit the craft scene? I had absolutely no interest and didn't see what all the buzz was about. But about four years ago, I gave into peer pressure, resulting in a newly acquired collection of Copic markers. What was I to do with them? The answer to that quest lead me to finding Amy Shulke (www.vanillaarts.com). Her Copic marker art spoke to me as loud as a cake that sits under the dome on the kitchen counter. It just wouldn't let go of me until I devoured it.

Amy is artist, illustrator and instructor that changed everything for me. Through her online classes I learned being true to my structured self didn't mean that I couldn't color. I am positive that she has days when she wonders how she ended up teaching art to non-traditional artists (crafters like me). I thank my lucky stars she did though because now I no longer just color, I create art. And maybe that explains why I now have as many color wheels as wooden spoons in the crock on the counter next to that cake.

The Practice Corner is about to spend the month of April focusing on color. We are going to work on making colors that are deeper or darker than the marker itself or even how to create colors that aren't in our collection (or even colors that aren't even in the Copic marker line up). We will also explore adding colored pencil to enhance or deepen our colors.

When you spend time focusing on your colors you might discover, like me, you suffer from color confusion. If you have no more color theory training than me (that wouldn't be a high bar) you might feel frustrated when you want to manipulate your colors with either your Copic markers or colored pencils. That is when you might reach for your color wheel. That helped me some, but I was left feeling confused as to why I was still so confused. Then it hit me . . . the color wheel wasn't telling me which marker to chose, it only tells me what category of color to pick from. As an example, I need to know which category each of my 30 "R" Copic markers or 22 red Prismacolor pencils fall into to really make sense of my colors. That is what led to me creating my own Copic marker and Prismacolor color wheels which I built with my own markers and Prismacolor pencils.

The time I've spent with my markers and pencils this week has really left me feeling like I know more about them then ever. The biggest benefit is that I am finally starting to see nuances in colors, especially in the red to magenta categories. I get excited when I see all the orange in Poppy Red or the magenta influence in the RV Copic markers. If I weren't practicing, I would have never taken the time to figure this out for myself. No amount of commercial color wheels would have ever cleared things up for me. I needed to create the two wheels I did to complete this stage of my color expedition.

The Practice Corner really is just that, an expedition into coloring. When we focus on a technique, instead of just coloring it leads us to greater understanding and the sharing amongst the Corner members leads to even more discoveries. The results are evident in our coloring projects.

If you don't have time to practice, but you want to experiment with creating deeper, darker colors you need to check out this Vanilla Arts workshop:

The Chocolate Box.

You can see my coloring projects and follow me on Instagram.

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